Going out can get seriously expensive. After a nice dinner out, cocktails, and movie tickets, you might be looking at a not-so-wallet-friendly $100 night. When you are trying to stick to a budget but you still want to spend a romantic evening with your partner, then you may think that you’re destined to spend all of your nights together parked in front of the television—but think again. Dates don’t have to be fancy or expensive, and there are things to do on nearly every corner of your city. With a little creativity and a sense of adventure, you can do date night for nearly nothing.
1. Walk Your City Square
Most everyone has a downtown area that is either in their city or in a nearby city that will typically have events on weekends and charming stores to window shop. Do a photo scavenger hunt, or take some photos of your partner at sunset for a memorable (and free!) evening.
2. Check Out a Free Festival
Festivals are everywhere—especially during the summertime. From jazz music to renaissance fairs to Shakespeare in the Park, you’re likely to find something that’s entertaining and completely free to enter. Browse the different artisan booths, and try to resist the funnel cakes for a fun date with low cost.
3. Feed the Ducks
Most towns have a place where ducks and geese seem to populate like a small lake or park pond. Take some duck food pellets or grains like oats or corn kernels down to the pond, and spend the night tossing out some to the birds. The ducks and geese will love it, and you’ll most likely get a few laughs watching them swoop in for a few bites. Please note that you should not bring bread for this; it is more widely agreed upon these days that bread is unhealthy for ducks and geese to eat in larger quantities.
4. Look for Free Nights at a Local Museum
If you live near a museum (or several), check to see if the museum provides any free admission to locals on certain nights of the month. Places that offer events like these will sometimes even have live bands and possibly even free hors d’oeuvres throughout. Enjoying priceless works of art or learning about history together is always considered a great date.
5. Pack a Picnic
If you have nice weather, and a park with some green space, then you can definitely enjoy a perfect picnic. Pack up your favorite snacks or prepare a dinner together and store it in some Tupperware, grab a blanket, and a couple of drinks and you’re on your way to a great evening of al fresco dining.
6. Movie Night at Home
There’s a reason why movie nights at home are the classic go-to cheap date. Put on that new Netflix documentary you’ve been meaning to watch, pop some popcorn, and pour a couple of drinks to enjoy the ultimate quiet evening at home. The best part? You don’t even have to get out of your pajamas.
7. Build a Fort
There’s nothing better than acting like a kid with your spouse or significant other. Gather a few chairs, make a sheet roof, and pile up the pillows to make a fort. For extra ambiance, add some string lights, and play some music to make it your own little oasis.
8. Make a Pinterest Board for a Project
Have you been thinking about remodeling a bedroom or your living room? If you’re not really sure where to start, plan an evening of dreaming on Pinterest with your partner. You can bounce ideas off each other and write everything down that you want to get done for the room.
9. Plan a Trip Together
Maybe the reason why you’re penny pinching right now is so that you can save up for something truly great, like gallivanting around Europe or an all-inclusive island vacation. Instead of spending money on date night, plan out your dream vacation with your spouse and actually try to make it happen.
10. Make Cocktails at Home
Skip the Uber ride and the expensive bar tab, and stay at home to make your own cocktails. If you don’t have all the equipment, you may need to invest a little in stocking up your home bar. However, a little money toward your cocktail collection (and therefore more evenings at home) will save you a ton in the long run.
11. Go to the Dog Park
Sure, you may walk your dog every single day, but there’s nothing like the joy of taking your furry baby out to play and socialize with other canines. Take your pup to the local dog park for a fun night out for the whole family.
12. Host a Game Night
All you need for this group date night are a few friends and some classic board games. Have all of your friends bring a dish for a potluck meal, their favorite brew, and make your way through all of the best group games like Catchphrase, Apples to Apples, or Cards Against Humanity.